Saturday, March 26, 2011

Paranormal Activity

Ok, so I know I'm a little slow on the uptake as this movie came out some time ago, but still, bear with me.
First of all, I want to say that this movie was fantastic. It was very well put together, simple and effective - the simplicity is what made it scary. Kind of in the same way "Buried" was. The effects were simple and I couldn't figure them out, which was a nice, fresh perspective on the horror/haunting genre.
Sure, most people would say "oh, it's just "The Blair Witch Project" but set now" and to them I say, fuck you and shut up. ANY movie that uses first person camera as part of the film is going to be seen as Blair-Witch-esque because, no matter your thoughts on that film, it started off a style of genre (known as the "found footage" genre) that wasn't really used before - outside of the 1980, not-too-well-received, Italian movie "Cannibal Holocaust" which was the first recorded instance of a "found footage" film. Also, I think "Paranormal Activity" did it better. The characters weren't as annoying.

Now, on the characters, this is important. Fuck. Me. The boyfriend is a dumbass in this film. I know, I know, if he wasn't, the climax wouldn't be the same and, hell, the whole film would probably be really different and less exciting. But damn.
Ok, I mean, obviously he doesn't know he's in a horror film, but after the first few experiences of the title's events, you'd think he'd be a little more aware or at least say, "ok, some shit is going down, let me call a professional" or "maybe I shouldn't piss it off". But now. He decides to take the "hey, this should be fun - let's piss it off and call it names" route.
That's not a spoiler, that's just the whole movie.

Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat, who play characters by those names, are excellent and it really is great to see some talent in a small budget, enjoyable horror flick like this. They are understated and believable.

Go and see it!

Note: this post doesn't have anything to do with "Paranormal Activity 2" or the apparently upcoming 3rd installment, seeing as they both return in those films - or, at least, Katie is slated for the 3rd so far. You'll see why this seems dumb and counter-intuitive to the first, and kind of ruins the whole experience of it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On Bad Days

They say bad things come in threes. I really hope that that's true.
It started with my alarm.
I don't know if any of you have ever done this, but apparently what I did was I woke up briefly - a moment in time of which I have no memory - and turned off my alarm. And then I fell back asleep. I mean, I've fallen asleep post-alarm before. You know, turned it off and then lain back and woken up another fifteen minutes or so later and been angry at myself. But this time I just woke up. A lot later. An hour.
Alarm set for 8:10. Woke up at 8:53.
Okay, things could be worse.
I rush upstairs and go for a shower, cursing myself the whole way. There were lots of swear words. I then ran downstairs to dress and run out of the house. When I got to my work clothes and bag, I found that my drink bottle had spilled juice all over the bag and clothes. So, swearing a lot more, I found a new set of work clothes and put all of my stuff into my other bag.
Okay, kind of shitty, but again, it could be worse.
So I throw on my new clothes, grab my bag and run out of the house, trying to get to the bus that would get me to work - at best - half an hour late. I turn up my wrist to have a look at my watch to see when the bus will arrive, and wouldn't you know it - the fucking thing is dead. Dead battery.

Now, I know, things can be worse, but it's all a matter of perspective. Seriously? Three things like that? Come on.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Buried... probably the scariest, most stressful movie I have ever seen. It was also cinematically brilliant. For those of you unaware, Buried is a film where Paul Conroy (played extremely well by Ryan Reynolds) wakes up to find himself bound in a coffin and buried alive. With him is a cell phone, his lighter and a flask of liquid, among other things. He has 90 minutes before he is left to die and must figure a way out.

Now, this sound like it's just a lame horror movie which ends in a Kill Bill-esque "punching through the coffin and crawling up and out of the ground", but you'd be wrong. The movie is an intricate exploration of loneliness, the American society and mortality.

The film is brilliantly shot never leaving the confines of the coffin - ever. All shots take place within the coffin and because of this, you feel like you're in there with Conroy. The lighting is only whatever the cell phone or lighter provides and the film is mostly quite silent, bar Conroy's talking on the phone and the occasional piece of dramatic music.

While I admire the excellent execution of the film and performance by Reynolds, and also the film-maker's ability to keep the audience interested for 90 minutes while never leaving the coffin or the single actor, I do not recommend it for the faint of heart. If you are claustrophobic or have a fear of being buried alive, this film is probably your worst nightmare and even had me - generally unaffected by films - shaking for a while afterwords, haunted.

Make no mistake, this is not a life-affirming movie, but is a great study of what it means to be alive.